“Unfiltered” is sort of a thing right now.
Folks talk on Instagram or Facebook about posts and pictures that are #Unfiltered: they’re real, authentic, not faked, not Photoshopped, not particularly posed. “This is real,” they insist.
I believe that this is something God is doing. God is bringing this value for the authentic to the front of our attention. God likes authentic. He likes real.
That’s one of the things I like about him. He doesn’t filter stuff. He’s authentic. He’s real.
He’s got this book (I guess they call it a Bible) that’s all about his relationship with the human race, and so it includes lots of humans in it: lots of people and their stories.
The people in his book, he calls some of them friends: some of them are real screw-ups. Hmm. Actually, most of them are. In fact, nearly all of them. If you were omnipotent and writing a book about your peeps, you’d think you’d show the shiny side, the good-looking side. Make them look good.
He does that a little, but that’s the smaller bit. The bigger bit is how badly his favorite people fark everything up. Or nearly everything. And he still hangs out with them.
One of his favorites started out really poor, but with a whole lot of God’s help, made it to the big time. And what does he do? He seduces the wife of one of his best friends (and daughter of another good friend). He gets her pregnant while hubby’s off fighting his imperialistic war. And then he murders her husband so he can have her all to himself. Alongside several dozen other wives and mistresses.
And God calls this son-of-a-birch-tree one of his favorites. What?
Another guy lies about his 60-year-old wife (“Nah, she’s my sister!” Essentially saying, “You can sleep with her if you promise not to kill me.”) And while they’re trying to figure out how to seduce her, he trades in on his status and ends up one of the richest dudes in the area. They have to ask him to leave so he doesn’t destroy their national economy.
God says, “Yeah, that guy is my example. I’m going to call him ‘the father of faith.’” As if it never happened!
Another guy refuses (three times!) to even acknowledge that he knows the guy when God puts on skin and comes to town. The religious freaks were setting up to murder him, and he totally ghosts the son of God. “Nope. Don’t even know the guy. Could you pass me a sandwich?”
And God makes him head of the church. Are you kidding me?
Yeah. It’s outrageous. It’s a complete travesty of justice.
And it’s one of the things I like best about this God.
It’s not that he doesn’t care if we muff it up. It’s just that muffing up doesn’t piss him off. He knows that’s how this species – built from dirt in the first place, anyway – is predisposed. And he doesn’t shun, ghost us, or get embarrassed when we come around.
In fact, he has spent literally all of recorded history pursuing us, coming to find us, getting on his knees to clean off our mess, to pull our foot from the trap, even ransom us from both sin AND death.
And if that wasn’t enough, he is so stoked to be close to us that he’ll happily live inside of us. That was his idea: not a hair’s breadth of distance between his almightiness and our dorky foolishness. Or rampant suckiness. Or unmitigated evilness. He’s not impressed. “Yeah, come here, you! Let me clean you up! Now isn’t this better, here with me?”
But wait! There’s more! He’s not done yet!
“So how’d you like to sit up here on this throne with me? Look, you can see the whole Kingdom from up here! So as long as you’re here on this throne, what kind of things would you like to do with this Kingdom? Cuz I’m going to share it, all of it, with you! We’re gonna do this together!”
Yeah, that’s the God we get to be with. #Unfiltered. Authentic. Real. Embarrassingly so.
And he invites us into all of this, to do all of life, with him.
If we’re willing.